The Battles of the Supers Redux - Review of the Incredibles 2
Of all the various, full-length Pixar movies, nearly all are tell stories of youth. From early childhood (Monsters, Inc., Toy Story), burgeoning adolescence (Coco, Inside Out), teenage rebellion (Brave), to finding your place in society (Ratatouille), Pixar knows their audience.
The Incredibles was one of the few full-length movies that seems squarely centered at adults, and more specifically, parents. Former superheroes Bob and Helen Parr try to balance the responsibilities of a family, work and be productive members of society while hiding their powers and those of their kids. In the original, though every major character had an arc, the story at the heart belongs to Bob. How does one let go of past glories and accept that family brings new responsibilities but also new joys and opportunities?
Incredibles 2 continues that exploration of the insection of family, personal choice and social responsibility. Picking up directly where the first one left off, the Parr family find themselves still shackled by the Superhero Protection Act, which forbids Supers from using their powers to protect others. Helen (as played by Holly Hunter) is given the task of changing society’s perception of former heroes by a rich telecommunication CEO with a geek fascination of Supers and an appreciation of their abilities. He wants the Supers to return so that they can return to protecting the general populace, a feeling which isn’t shared by everyone.
Does this sound familiar? While Incredibles 2 is on the same level as the original in the terms of dialogue and design, it doesn’t feel like we cover any new ground or, frankly, that different of a plot.
Though less central to the story this time, the growth and development is still largely focused on Bob. The former Mr. Incredible agrees to swallow his pride and allow Helen (as Elastigirl) the opportunity to be the primary breadwinner in the famiily. Where Bob struggled to have a “normal” job in the original movie, now he is relugated to the role of “stay-at-home dad”. Thankfully, this is played less for laughs than previous generations of movies, but instead centers on Bob’s discovery that Jack-Jack is imbued with a variety of wildly unpredictable powers.
What the Incredibles 2 does do is give us lots of great fights, superhero battles, and tons of Jack-Jack time. While largely an afterthought in the first movie, smallest member of the Parr family is truly the star of this movie. He takes center stage early in Act II, and rarely leaves the viewer’s sightline from that moment onward. As Edna Mode says midway through the film “he is PURE POTENTIAL, Robert.” If we are lucky enough to have an Incredibles 3, I’m sure that will turn out to be true.
TD;LR - Great continuation of the first story, thoughly largely keeps us in the same territory as before. Jack-Jack versus the raccoon is worth the price of admission.